Supporting the Troops

Randy Kuhl today introduced HR 1382 yesterday. This bill calls for an "assured adequate level of funding for veterans' health care." According to an article in Slate, the VA budget has been the subject of tricks for years. Not only does the VA underestimate the number of vets who will apply for benefits, they've also tried to shift costs to vets by raising deductibles and enrollment fees.

The VA budget also makes no provisions for a rising caseload in the next couple of years, and it also predicts zero increase in costs in the years 2009-12. In other words, the Bush Administration has gamed the VA budget to make it appear smaller. This makes the deficit appear smaller, and it also makes tax cuts seem more fiscally responsible.

The text of Kuhl's bill hasn't been posted yet, so it's not clear how deep it digs into the morass of VA funding. Since the bill is brand-new, Kuhl is the only co-sponsor. Success will depend on his ability to gather co-sponsors and push the bill through committee.

In other troop-supporting news, Kuhl wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, asking him to review the DOD's policy on the simultaneous deployment of two parents to military zones. This policy came up during his Henrietta meeting, probably due to recent media coverage of the plight of some kids in the 29th who have two parents in the military.

HR 1382 is the first significant piece of legislation introduced by Kuhl in the 110th Congress. In honor of that milestone, here's a little educational entertainment:


I hope they don't pull any %@(^ by underfunding the VA... we'll see what's in Kuhl's bill soon I hope.

Semi-related... that's the coolest animation ever.